Chubu Walkathon 2024
Date: May 19, 2023 (Sun) Rain or shine!
Location: Meijo Park, 1 Chome-2 Meijo, Kita Ward, Nagoya (map)
All proceeds go to charity!
Know your Chubu Walkathon
The Chubu Walkathon and International Charity Festival started in 1991 in Nagoya as the “Nagoya Walkathon.” Started and run mostly by foreigners, the festival continues to be held annually on a Sunday in May and is hosted jointly by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) and Nagoya International School (NIS).
The Walkathon’s main purpose is to join the international community with Japanese friends and companies to:
- Raise money to support local NPOs and charitable organizations in Chubu
- Encourage a spirit of giving and volunteerism in the greater community
- Promote international understanding and cooperation in the greater community
The Chubu Walkathon has long been popular with the region’s foreign communities for the range of bands, “foods from home,” volunteer opportunities, and fun. Still, every year it becomes more and more popular with Japanese people as well. Bringing the Japanese community in is a high priority for the event and has helped grow attendance from a few hundred participants in 1991 to its current size.
Money raised by the Walkathon is distributed to local NPOs and charitable organizations, who apply for the funds annually on a project basis. Charitable organizations need to make a project plan and budget and then submit the proposal to the organizing committee of the Walkathon, where the funds are distributed.
In 2011, for example, a local orphanage applied for funds to rebuild a staircase, while another facility asked for a new TV and video game console for the children living there. These are both excellent representations of where the money raised by the Walkathon goes. You can find information on charities and groups we have supported in previous years on the Walkathon website.
Walkie the Walrus
The world’s only walking walrus and the Walkathon Mascot!
Walkie was born on October 5th, 2013, with a very rare condition that left him unable to swim like other walruses. As his parents cried their eyes out, sure that a polar bear would eat him, Walkie refused to give up, telling his brother: “If I can’t swim, I’ll teach myself to walk.”
His brother thought it would be impossible, but over the next few months, Walkie never gave up. His persistent courage allowed him to become the world’s only walking walrus. As soon as possible, he walked south away from the polar bear regions and kept going.
He arrived at the Chubu Walkathon on May 19th, 2014, and was immediately adopted as the Walkathon Mascot for his walking prowess.
The Walkathon T-shirt
Some are worn only once and thrown out every year, never to be thought of again, but many are kept. Very likely, more are kept than you think. The famous “Walkathon T-shirt” tradition began in the fourth year of the Walkathon 1995.
It is always an original design submitted by students at Nagoya International School for consideration at the ACCJ’s annual Walkathon Kick-off Party, where the designs are displayed and voted on by attendees from NIS, the ACCJ, charity representatives, and guests.
The winners receive a prize and the honor of having their design used on a t-shirt thousands of people wear. Over time, through the normal churn of our community, these shirts have likely found their way to all four corners of the globe, which is pretty cool.